Little cub is reborn and chargeD up!

This may look familiar, in fact you may be questioning how it’s any different to when the Jaguar E-Pace was first introduced as the British luxury car maker’s baby SUV just four years ago. There’s a new grille and revised bumpers and inside the latest generation infotainment and a new gear lever. Underneath however, it is all-new. Well that is to say it adopts the Range Rover Evoque’s platform, that’s been designed to accommodated a hybrid drivetrain.

There then is the big news when it comes to the crossover cub (there is an adorable mum and baby cub jaguar motif at the bottom of the windscreen). With the E-Pace the power output and type of drivetrain is helpfully mentioned in the name, the car tested here is the P300E – which translates to 300bhp and the E indicating electrification.

This Plug-in hybrid (PHEV) has a 1.5-litre three-cylinder petrol engine producing 200bhp and an 80kW (109bhp) electric motor on the rear axle. There is a 15kWh lithium-ion battery under the floor and it has an electric-only range of 34 miles. The total combined power is 309bhp and 540Nm of torque channelled to all four-wheels  giving it a hot-hatch-baiting 0-62mph acceleration time of 6.5 seconds, great economy and yet CO2 emissions of just 44g/km.

Prices for the new range start at around £30k. This R-Dynamic S costs around £46,000 and comes with 20-inch wheels, panaromic roof, 3d camera, digital rear-view mirror, Meridian sound system, electric seats and more.

In terms of styling – this or the Evoque? The Range Rover benefits from adopting the sleeker styling details of the brilliant Velar. However the more cutesy, rounded looks of the E-Pace work better in these dimensions. With an SUV this small, you won’t be taking it deep off-road, so the character of the Jaguar seems more suited.

On the go, it does feels significantly smaller than the larger F-Pace. It maintains the ride quality you’d expect of the brand, but dials in a level of eagerness and keen handling that’s very welcome, despite the slight play and lack of communication in the steering. The performance is adequate and easily accessible, but not as punchy or startling as the top dog F-Pace.

A great everyday compact crossover with prestige and style, endearingly lovable for its personality traits and both practical and enjoyable enough for most. If you’re looking for something more spacious and substantial, try the F-Pace first.

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